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New Mexico Projecting Sharp Increase In Homelessness

 LFC Committee
Kevin Meerschaert
via Zoom
The Legislative Finance Committee staff presents its findings Tuesday on homelessness and affordable housing to LFC.

According to a report by the Legislative Finance Committee homelessness in New Mexico is projected to increase 48-percent in 2023.
The report also says it’s getting harder for people to find a place to live that they can afford.
The report presented Tuesday to the LFC says emergency shelter capacity has more than doubled since 2016, where has the supply of affordable rental units has dropped by more than half since 2020.

Since 2017, rents have jumped in New Mexico by 70-percent while wages have only increased 15-percent.

Almost half of renters in the state are cost burdened paying more than 30-percent of their income for housing.

Kathleen Gygi is Program Evaluator for the LFC.  She says the state is seeing troubling trends in both homelessness and affordable housing.

“One of the things that was a challenge in looking at this and it challenges almost everybody who is concerned about these two issues is that homelessness supports and affordable housing are two parallel systems that are related but they have very different conditions,” she said. “One is largely a publicly funded system and the other has a lot to do with the private housing market and national trends.”

The report says New Mexico’s housing system is fragmented and that it consists of multiple public and private entities dominated by federal funders and local implementers.

It says the state can play a role in prioritizing needs and filling funding gaps. The Legislature has made major investments in homelessness and housing support over the past two years. The report adds the state would benefit from increased transparency and reporting regarding the performance of the programs.              

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